Adverse Effects of Sanctions

Jasper J. Van der Kemp, NSCR

Defiance-theory (Sherman, 1993) offers an explanation for the adverse effects of criminal sanctions. Instead of focussing on the instrumental features of sanctions or the characteristics of offenders, the main concern of defiance-theory is the interaction between offender and sanctioning agent. According to the theory a sanction will have an adverse effect if a poorly bonded sanctioned offender perceives the sanction as unfair and stigmatizing. Instead of shaming himself the defiant offender will react with anger. Under these conditions a criminal sanction is likely to increase future offending. In this study defiance-theory is theoretically differentiated and empirically tested. Therefore, quantitative and qualitative data about experiences with the police was collected from a sample of secondary school students and a sample of incarcerated youth. In this paper a revised model of the theory will be discussed and some preliminary analyses will be presented.

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Updated 05/20/2006